Alex Genadinik is an entrepreneur, mobile developer, web developer and a marketer. He enjoys helping other entrepreneurs with their businesses and the Problemio apps are a great way to do that. The apps come as a 4-app course covering 1) Business ideas 2) Business planning 3) Marketing and 4) Fundraising. Alex holds a B.S in Computer Science from San Jose State University.
Problemio creates some of the most helpful mobile applications for planning and starting a business. They are very educational in nature, and are made with the intention to empower the entrepreneurs by teaching them fundamentals, and giving them support as they work on their businesses.
MO: How did you come up with the concept for Problemio?
Alex: I first made a small business app on Android just to teach myself how to make mobile apps. And then I noticed that people on the app only used one feature, which was to plan their businesses. So I created more features to allow people to plan their businesses. And this became my first Android business plan app which is one of the top rated business apps on Android at the moment. Once the people using the app started creating small business plans, I noticed that they kept making the same fundamental errors all the time.
There are 5 major issues where people struggle: business ideas, business planning, marketing, fundraising, and legal. Since I am not an attorney and cannot help people with legal issues, I decided to make an app for each of the other four topics, and focus on them quite deeply. And so recently, I released the 4-app course for Android, iOS, Kindle and the NOOK covering these 4 major issues. So that is how I got from not knowing how to make mobile apps at all to having the Problemio 4-app business course.
MO: Can you talk a bit about the development process behind Problemio and any challenges that you faced early on?
Alex: There were many challenges. The biggest challenge was that in the beginning, I didn’t know how to make mobile apps. And I am not a good designer. Design is still a bit of a weakness for the apps. So I had to teach myself Android programming, and then iOS programming. And this is all while having to promote and market these apps at the same time. So to juggle all these things was quite difficult. And it is still difficult. I still do just about all the development and marketing for the apps.
MO: Where does your strong entrepreneurial spirit come from?
Alex: I think it is a combination of curiosity and competitiveness. I have always been interested in pursuing my own ideas. That causes me to start projects and to spend my free time learning and exploring things. And once I start, I still pursue my curiosity on a daily basis as I build the product and release features. But the difference is that it isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes things don’t work and for every two steps forward, there is a step back somewhere. I think being competitive helps me power through those times. Plus my mentality is all about winning. There is just no other way.
MO: What are some of the biggest barriers individuals or companies face when creating trying to turn mobile apps into a business?
Alex: It is well documented that most apps struggle with distribution and monetizaton. Ironically, if app developers would get my apps, they would quickly learn about marketing their apps, how to think about business models for their products, and how to get business ideas for products which will find demand.
These are all business fundamentals. The challenge with apps is that most of them are so innovative that it is difficult to predict what will and what won’t work until the app is live and in the hands of users. So one of the biggest challenges is the high failure rate associated with any innovative fields.
MO: What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the app market? How can they increase their chances for success, additionally what are some common pitfalls they should avoid?
Alex: The advice I would give is to realize how much resources people have available in terms of time, money and skilled labor. If you do not have lots of resources, you should be very careful because it will be difficult to compete against apps which have more resources behind them. And going after a small niche may just not make enough money for you. So I would advise to learn to make the apps on your own to save money, plan very carefully, and if possible get mentors who have done it before. And make sure you realize that the associated risk of failure is quite high.
MO: What are some trends in the mobile app market that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?
Alex: The trend I really like is that mobile devices are rapidly replacing laptops as first choice productivity devices. And young people are leading the way in that trend. The biggest demographic of my app’s users by age is 19-30 and many of them choose to work on their mobile devices on things that are as involved as business plans. And that trend is even stronger overseas because in many developing countries, there are many very cheap tablets available which are more affordable than laptops, so many people in developing countries get a cheap Android tablet if they can only have one device.
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